Stage 3: Azaria - Development diary 5: New level design

Hey everyone!

We have some big changes going on inside Stage 3: Azaria's development. Today we'll tell you about the changes in the level design and the main objectives of the map, which are two of the most important aspects in the game. While we are changing our level design drastically, we believe it is for the best of the game; after all, it's you who are going to play it and we want you to have thousands of hours of fun with our games!

Let's begin by sharing information about the world of Stage 3, and the location where the battle takes place.

Heorogan's Castle

The universe of Stage 3 is composed of multiple families fighting for power and respect. Each one of these send their members to endure harsh training so they can become members of one of the following factions: Heiron Alliance, Viridian Resistance and Sanctum Order. Which are the main power holders in the continent. The families are recognized by the talent of their members, so the most respectful of them have very powerful members.

The Heorogan's family is the strongest in the kingdom and they possess a castle that is strategically positioned to gain advantage of the resources on their land. While controlling Azaria you will have to face Eolica Heorogan, whose army is composed of Heiron Alliance and Sanctum Order members, while trying to protect the castle's main gate.

Level design

The battle takes place in Heorogan's Castle territory and it's surrounded by giant floating islands that connect each other via magical artifacts. Before creating the art of the game we must make sure the level design has a new flow and the player finds it engaging. Let's take a look at some of the islands the player can explore.

First island

This is a 3 layer island, with height differences, designed so the player can keep track of the lower levels of the island by going to the edges. It has multiple paths to the objective on the second layer, so enemies wont be that predictable from where they will come from and they will be able to adapt to obstacle spells.

Objectives are situated on the topmost layer with spawning knights on the lowest layer and wisps on every level. The cover has been placed on the first and second level so the player can fight on these areas better.

First island blockout map

Second island

The second island has 2 entry points for knight enemies and keeps the objectives on the middle of the map. The player will need to go to the lower levels to secure a second objective, leaving the main objectives exposed to the topmost spawned enemies, keeping the player always moving on the map.

The main area is kept mostly symmetric but with some natural cover objects to make it interesting and fun.

Second island blockout map

Third island

A bridge island, it is used by the enemies to teleport between the main islands Has 3 entry/exit points and bridges that connect them, these bridges can be disabled by the player temporaly. Allowing the player to manage the waves of enemies coming at them. It has minimun cover and its not designed to be an area to fight enemies.

Third island blockout map

Modularity in art

While the game designers are focusing on making the game and levels fun, the art team is focused on trying to tell the story by creating the characters and how the world will look. At this stage, it is important to focus on modularity and the visual language that the models will translate to the player. Different forms and silhouettes give different feelings. For instance vertical lines give a sense of stability like the pillars of Greek columns or other architecture elements; while horizontal lines give a sense of peace, just like watching the ocean when there is a sunset.

When working on games, it is important to be as efficient as possible. You never know how the assets you create are going to be used in the game so the best you can do is to create pieces that by themselves don't make much impact but together can create something interesting. This is the beauty of creating worlds in games and it's where your creativity shines!

These are some of the pieces we are using to create architecture for Stage 3:

These simple pieces may seem that they won't do much impact in the world, but these are some of the combinations that can be made if used creatively:

As you can see, just by using six 3D models we can create a wide range of architectural elements. When these combined with the power of materials in Unreal Engine, the possibilities are endless! If you want to know more about how we are using materials to create art you can check our article here

We hope you enjoyed reading the article and learned more about how we are creating our games! That's it for this week newsletter, there are more awesome content coming up soon so stay tuned. If you wish to ask anything about the game or about the development don't be shy and let us know by the comments below. Until next week!



Stage 3: Azaria - Development diary 2: Fire Spells

We want to share with you one of the themes that really inspire us to make the kind of games we work on and that is: Magic!

In the Stage 3 universe, magic is controled by wizards who belong to the Sanctum Order. The purpose of this order is to train wizards and continue their family legacy by creating powerful mages that can serve as vital weapons in war times. Azaria is the leader of the Sanctum Order, therefore she has mastered the techniques like no other wizard in the realm has and the only one who can control all elements instead of just one. She's also able to control a secret element that we will share with you soon!

There are 4 main magic elements that can be controlled in Stage 3: fire, ice, lightning and earth. And today we want to show you what we have been working on with the fire element.



In Stage 3, the fire is considered the most powerful and destructive element of them all, as it provides offensive attacks only. Only people with pure and unstable emotions are chosen to fit the role of the Blazing Warlock inside the Sanctum order - the reason is because they are able to channel their emotions into a burst of offensive magic.

Blazing Warlocks give in to their emotions. They can be calm as the wind, and at the next instant they can burst into an uncontrollable anger. They're not reliable teammates in the battlefield, as when they are flooded by emotions, they become emotion itself.

Azaria is able to morph fire into two different spells called: Infernal Flames and Fiery Horizon. Depending on your situation you may cast one instead of the other or even use both. In the following videos you can see both spells in action, take note that things are subject to change as we still develop the game, its part of the progress to reiterate and change things as more people play it and give us their feedback!

Infernal Flames:
Infernal Flames is one of the most basic and effective spells that can be casted by wielding the fire element. The mastery of this spell is not an easy task, as many mages can cast this spell but their range, power, area and accuracy depends on the amount of training they have done.

Internal Flames Charging

This is a projectile type spell that has an arc trajectory. Used by Azaria, the range, power, and area will depend on how much time the spell has been channeled. The more you charge the spell, the more powerful it is and the further it can go. It also has a chance to inflict a burning effect on the enemies, setting them on fire.

While this spell is great for consistent long range area damage, it can be a little weak if not charged enough. This is where the Fiery Horizon shines, because its used best in close quarters combat.

Fiery Horizon:
The Fiery Horizon was created with the purpose of defending yourself when you are overwhelmed by enemies. You will automatically activate it just by using your hand and creating a motion with it. When you do, you will throw a powerful magic arc covered with fire that will defend yourself from enemies that get in your way. 

Fiery Horizon

One of the core aspects of Stage 3: Azaria is that we want the player to experience something different than the traditional gaming can offer. By using the motion controllers, the player can really feel they are using magic instead of just pressing a button. And we really love the fact that the experience of using a VR can be very enjoyable and unique since it can give a fresh air on what we believe gaming is or can be.

That's it for this article, you can expect more articles for the rest of the spells, we can't wait to show you what we have been working on for the other elements!